Blog Archives

The Adventures of Ned the Neuron – an interactive, educational ebook.

Y’know… for kids!

A quick post to point you to something that looks like a serious case of the funsies. It’s an interactive ebook that’s just been released detailing the adventures of Ned the Neuron – a proper story-book, but with three interactive games built in, all with the aim of teaching kids about basic neuroscience. It’s produced by Kizoom Labs, which was co-founded by Jessica Voytek (one of the developers, along with her husband Brad, of the excellent brainSCANr site).

You can read more about the book on the Kizoom site here, or download it (iPad only) from the iOS App Store here.


Guest Post on The Neuron Club

Yet another quickie linky-out post I’m afraid, but at least this time it’s to things that I’ve actually written, which are just hosted elsewhere, so I feel slightly better about it.

Firstly, I am honoured and humbled to be a guest blogger, and the first writer with a ‘featured post’ at The Neuron Club. These fabulous gentlemen and ladies are a bunch of brain scientists from the New York area, and their blog is full of great stuff. My post is on an important aspect of fMRI methods which is something that I’ve been wanting to write about for some time, but didn’t feel was right for this blog, so I’m really happy to be able to get it out there. If you’re interested in fMRI at all, you should go and check it out.

The other thing I wanted to point you to was a review of the movie ‘Limitless’ which I’ve written for the site Scientific Kitty. This site solicited reviews of movies, books etc. by scientists, from a scientific perspective, and since I’m a massive movie-geek, I thought I’d give it a go. There’s only a few other reviews up on the site at the moment, but it seems to be expanding rapidly, so definitely one to watch.


Computers and brains get closer together: Brain-like computing components

The brain is like a computer; this is the fundamental metaphor at the heart of 1980s cognitive psychology. To an extent this was a useful way of thinking about the brain, it certainly stores and processes information just like a computer, and you can even (perhaps) draw some rough parallels between parts of the brain and computer components.

However, in at least one important respect, the brain appears to function very differently from a computer. A computers’ processing power is highly centralised in a single processor (or perhaps a dual/quad core processor – doesn’t matter – still centralised). The processor does all the computational work, and the hard disk stores all the data that the processor works on. This means that data is constantly being shuttled back and forth from the hard disk to the processor (using the RAM as an intermediary, to avoid the hard disk spinning up and down all the time) and this transfer of data is slow, inefficient and creates a bottleneck which restricts the maximum speed at which computers can run. Read the rest of this entry